The Gospel Under the Southern Cross (4)

24 August 2011 by Wes Bredenhof

Imagine your typical Canadian city.  Imagine in the middle of the city, in the downtown core, a room filled with Reformed books.  Imagine that this place features free lectures every week on Reformed theology.  Imagine that people actually come and show a lively interest.  And these people that come are not all Reformed — many of them have some kind of other background.  Is it fair to say that all you can do in Canada is imagine such a scenario?

But here in Recife, this is reality.  A glorious, God-graced, reality.  There is a hunger here for solid biblical teaching.  Not only in Recife, but elsewhere too.  My colleague Ken Wieske told me yesterday, “God has opened millions of doors for us down here.”  They just don’t have the manpower to meet the demand.  New people and churches from all over Brazil are asking our missionaries to come and teach them the Reformed faith.  But they’re already stretched to the limits.

What is the need of the hour here?  More preachers.  More missionaries.  This is why the work of the John Calvin Institute is so crucially important to the future of the Christian faith in Brazil.  This is the training center, the seminary for the Reformed Churches of Brazil (IRB).  Yesterday the Synod of the IRB took two more men “under care” as seminarians.  God willing, these men will become ministers for the churches and serve the advance of the gospel here.  But can Canada (the Canadian Reformed Churches) do more?  That’s the question that’s on my heart.  The times are remarkable.  Opportunities are open here that would blow your mind if they were in our own country.  Brazil is an emerging force on the world stage.  If we can seize these opportunities now, we could serve the advance of the gospel, not only in Brazil, but also in South America, and around the world.  Surely we can do more.

The John Calvin Institute (Instituto João Calvino)